Sleep - The Clarity [Digital Single] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


The Clarity [Digital Single] (2014)

Adult Swim

It's been twenty years since stoner metal legends have written a new song. That's two decades. Chinese Democracy and Surgical Steel only took seventeen years a piece. As such, "The Clarity" their contribution to the Adult Swim singles series is kind of a big deal, and would have made Internet waves regardless of what it sounded like. However, the fact that it's actually an awesome piece of droning stoner doom makes the event all the more cause for celebration.

One thing that will become apparent nearly right away upon first listen of "The Clarity" is that this is the best Sleep have ever sounded sonically. In whichever umbrella you choose to place the group under (sludge, doom, stoner metal, etc...) a bit of dirt and grime is to be expected, and the production here does a nice job of maintaining that grit while updating Sleep's sound for the 21st century. Matt Pike's guitar intro is uncharacteristically clean, managing to both catch the listener off guard and create a sense of suspense. It takes almost a full minute before the full band (Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and relatively new recruit drummer Jason Roeder of Neurosis) kick in, and when they do, it becomes undeniable; Sleep is back!

Stylistically, the lengthy, drone—influenced track is much closer to Dopesmoker than the more traditionally structured songs from Vol. 1 and Holy Mountain. It seems to pick up right where that 63—minute opus left off, with a main riff that recalls that masterpiece, but is unique enough to stand on its own. Cisneros' time with Om is also apparent in the track, much more than any High On Fire influence coming from Pike's direction. Lyrically the track is about what you would expect from the group, and has been described by the group as "A lyrical followup to a lifetime of marijuana enjoyment."

The group intend to release a new full—length sometime in the future, but for now, "The Clarity" should be more than enough to tide fans over. In two whole decades, Sleep haven't missed a beat. It's hard to imagine fans of the group being anything less than thrilled with "The Clarity."